AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — As those temperatures start to warm up, horse racing will also pick up.
But a contract dispute slowed things down for wagers at the Mahoning Valley race course.
“The atmosphere is really good. I’m glad they brought this to the Mahoning Valley. It’s a good place to come just to relax,” said Wayne Holloway, of Youngstown.
But in December, a contract dispute limited the number of races people could see and bet on. The Hollywood Gaming Racino was shut out from simulcasting races from top tracks like Pimlico and Santa Anita. And that slowed down business.
“The difference is, they’re first-class tracks that get the best horses, the best jockeys, the most money to run for. It makes all the difference in the world. It’s just a different level of racing,” said Jim Messenger, of Youngstown.
“We think it did hurt us, to some extent, but we were very happy with the support from our patrons during the impasse,” said Mark Loewe, V.P. of Racing, Penn National Gaming.
Last week, a cooperative of race tracks, including Mahoning Valley, reached a deal. They can once again simulcast and take bets for races at the major tracks. Just in time for an important season in thoroughbred racing.
“They have some major stakes races leading up to the Kentucky derby. So now that the patrons have the ability to watch and wager on those races, that will hopefully lead to a bigger Kentucky derby day here, which we expect to be big nonetheless,” said Loewe.
“It kind of lost my interest, and then we brought it back. Now it’s back, so you get the races all over. You get some good racing and some good pay ((laughs)) I mean, you always have to put the pay in there, right?,” said Holloway.